The stage thriller Dial M is, to a large extent, a memory play. The three key characters (The Wendices and Halliday) are involved in a dramatic triangle. All things the three have encountered between them previously, or any assumption any one of them had made in the past, is not just for the sake of the plot but to outline the history of their relationship entwinement.
What has gone on is outlined in opening scenes during conversations held between these characters in the present. When Lesgate makes his entrance we are, more or less, equipped with the whole picture about what is going to happen and why, apart from how, exactly, Inspector Hubbard is going to catch the murderer out later on.
Hubbard harbours his suspicions until his reveal at the end, but we are enlightened much earlier to the murderer’s motive. There is a dash of blackmail and a twist to the tale that shakes things up. The dialogue is artful in moving the story forward at a well timed pace.
The stage set and the lighting diverts the gaze throughout and the music and sound is suitably sinister. A well cast bunch of five, with a striking performance by Betts particularly, and while Timothy’s stage presence impacts immediately, Hotten is a slower burner in her role but I did love her Sheila by the time the lights went out. Recommended.
This is a current 2014 touring production
Sheila Wendice – Kelly Hotten
Max Halliday – Philip Cairns
Tony Wendice – Daniel Betts
Captain Lesgate – Robert Perkins
Inspector Hubbard – Christopher Timothy
Photography by Manuel Harlan